History of Emotions

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    History of Emotions

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    • Students will acquire knowledge of the concepts, approaches and sources used to study emotions in medieval and early modern Europe
    • Students will train critical reflection on scholarly debates and literature and participate in discussions
    • Writing and presentation skills are trained through written and oral assignments

    The history of emotions is a burgeoning research field in cultural history that is highly interdisciplinary in character. Both historical, literary, social, philosophical and medical scholars investigate the role of emotions and emotional behavior. In this course you will study themes such as religious emotions in late medieval convents, early modern medical theories about the bodily humours, emotions in early modern theater, the concept of melancholy, the experience of fear and sorrow. We will also discuss the theoretical concepts and methods used by scholars to study the cultural varieties in emotional behavior and experience. A central and recurring theme will be the (experienced) embodiment of emotions in the period 1500-1850. Where did contemporary doctors and philosophers locate emotions in the body? What cultural rules reigned the bodily expression of emotions? When, where, for who and for what reason was weeping allowed?

    Lectures and literature seminars, student presentations

    Short essay (30%); oral presentation (10%); Written exam (60%)
    Attendance at the lectures and seminars is compulsory.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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